Showing posts from 2015

Finding Joy in a Whack World

In the midst of all the trauma and tragedy, I've had trouble articulating my thoughts about our whack world, which can be frustrating for a person who processes the world through writing. I've felt such heaviness, especially in the past month, but when I try to write to relieve some of the burden that weighs on my heart, it feels like ranting. I'm not adding anything to the collective conversation, and I don't want to be a ranter--another voice shouting from the fray. We've got an overload of shouting. We need more listening.

That's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to listen and lean into the love that's inside my own heart.

I'm trying to find the beauty in this broken world.

I'm looking for beauty because it brings me joy. It's a reminder that God is WITH US. He is HERE--in our MIDST--we just have to take the time to notice. Even in this WHACK world, beauty still abounds.

But so does fear.

Fear is a thief; it not only robs us of our p…

Be Still: Lessons from My 30s

For three years, I've been planning my next tattoo, which is rather ironic because I never thought I'd get one--much less two. I even started a Pinterest board titled "Another One" to collect ideas. When my Bestie saw the name of it before glancing at the pictures, she sent me a panic text: "ARE YOU PREGNANT?"

Um. NO.

Tattoos tell a story. That's why I've grown to love them, which is quite an evolution for me. As I crept closer to the end of my 30s, I realized that I wanted my tattoo to symbolize what I'd learned in this decade. That's when it came to me:

Be Still...

My 30s began in a blur of busy. As a wife, a mom, a teacher, I tried to juggle all of the balls--all too precious to drop.

something to do
somewhere to go
someone to take care of.

Toys to pick up
Papers to grade
Meals to prepare
Clothes to wash
Lessons to plan.

By the time I was 32, I had everything that I ever wanted--my perfect life that I dreamed about in my 20s:

The Sisterhood of the Coaches' Wives

We blinked, and it's August.

It's time for the excitement and anxiety to start creeping in.
It's time to kiss our husbands goodbye and say, "See you in December!"
It's time to become a pseudo-single mom.

It's football season in Texas.

As coaches' wives, we know the truth: football season never really ends. Those famed lights darken; the games stop, but off-season becomes spring football becomes 7-on-7 becomes summer conditioning camp becomes August.

And here we are.

Another August.

We are ready.
We are hopeful.
We are undefeated.

Everyone is undefeated in August.

People think they know our world because they love Texas high school football. They see us sitting in the stands on Friday nights proudly wearing our team colors--some of us bedazzled (I don't bedazzle). They watched Friday Night Lights and think we are all Tami Taylor, who made it look so easy. (We all secretly worship her for it.)

But I am not Tami Taylor. No one is.

Most of us corral…

When the Mighty Fall

My admiration for ToKillaMockingbird began in high school. It was one of the first books that made me fall in love with the rhythm of words. My love grew to obsession when I had to teach the novel year after year to my students in English II. Rather than analyze characters and plot elements, I used TKAM as a way to teach LIFE--to focus on the value of courage, equality, innocence, justice. Like many well-meaning teachers, I placed Atticus Finch on a pedestal as the literary hero who emulated all of these qualities. I would often tell my students: Be Atticus. I would often ask myself: What Would Atticus Do?

As a teacher, I've read TKAM an estimated ten times, but it's also imprinted on my writer DNA. I have parts of it memorized. When I'm stuck in the mire of my own writing, I open to a random page and let Harper Lee's words remind me of why I string words together to make a sentence-- a paragraph--a page--a book.

Like so many fans, I was THRILLED when I heard about the…

One Hundred Years

"Are you really going to wear that?"  Tracie, my roommate, asked me as I slipped on sweat pants and my favorite worn hoodie.

"Yes. Why?"

She raised her eyebrows in disapproval. "No reason."

I brushed off Tracie's scoff at my clothing choice. My brain felt fuzzy from the lack of sleep after pulling another "all-nighter," which became customary as I finished my last semester at Texas A&M University. On that early December morning in 1997, I threw on sweats to turn in my last paper of my undergraduate career, and then I would take a nap. Little did I know what the day held.

After I turned in my paper and yawned my way through the last lecture of class, I met Jason near the library. We had been dating for over two years, and I knew he was "the one." Instead of his usual athletic apparel (he was a kinesiology major), Jason wore a button-up shirt (ironed!), Wranglers, and boots. I eyed his fancy attire suspiciously. "Why are you…

I Need You, Summer!

Even though I have two days of school left (the struggle is REAL), my mind is screaming, "IT'S SUMMER!!" It's so close I can smell the suntan lotion and taste the snow cones.

To most teachers, summer means vacation and freedom and not setting an alarm, but to me, summer means READING, which is ironic because I read during every season; I read every day. But summer means a different kind of reading.

I use summer as an excuse to read things I wouldn't normally read during the school year. I read LOTS of YA because it's my job as a high school librarian and writer (and it's my jam), but I use the summer to read for ME--some YA, some not. 

Over the past couple of years, I have posted my summer reading list because people ask me for recommendations all the time (which I LOVE!). But the truth is that I usually don't stick to my list. Summer is a time to just read and see where it takes me. The truth is that I rarely stick to my list because that seems very…

It Started with a Tweet

This has been a week to remember. And it all started with a tweet.

Actually, it started last summer when I read Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens. The book came across my radar as a wonderful debut novel about a girl and a boy who help each other uncover and speak their painful truths. When I read this book, I fell in love with it and felt an instant connection with the characters and the author, who I started following on Twitter. I couldn't wait to put Faking Normal in the hands of my students when school started.

Fast-forward to November. Shyann, a junior at my school, walked into the Skeeter Library and asked me to recommend a great book. After doing my librarian thing and asking her some questions to make the perfect book match, I handed her Faking Normal. Two days later, Shyann returned to the library to tell me that it was "the best book I've ever read." I said, "Let's tweet the author!" I like to do this because it's so cool to watch kid…